Ex-diplomat says Afghanistan in ‘civil war,’ calls for US withdrawal
When former U.S. diplomat to Afghanistan Matthew Hoh resigned on Sept. 10, 2009, he did so in a very public manner.
Now freed from the constraints of speaking on behalf of the United States government, he’s taken to the media, spreading his view that America’s involvement in Afghanistan is senseless and must soon end.
“I hit a point in my conscience where I just felt it was senseless, what was happening,” he explained on a Monday broadcast of NBC’s Today Show. “Our troops are fighting people who are fighting us because we’re occupying them. … What we are doing there doesn’t attain any strategic value or any goals for the United States.”
Interviewer Matt Lauer, paraphrasing Hoh’s resignation letter (PDF link), said that America still views Afghanistan “through the lens of 9/11.”
“And you say that the people we’re fighting there, the insurgents, do not see it that way at all,” Lauer continued. “They are not fighting to support the Taliban, the people who allowed violence to come to our shores. They’re fighting for their individual communities and their valleys.”
Lauer’s summary concluded: “So, as long as we fail to understand that this isn’t about 9/11 and in many ways not even about the Taliban, we’re wasting the lives of men and women there.”
“Correct,” Hoh said.
In his resignation letter to Ambassador Nancy J. Powell, he wrote, “To put it simply: I fail to see the value or the worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year-old civil war.”
During Monday’s interview, Hoh repeated the claim that Afghanistan is embroiled in a decades-old civil war. He added that many Afghan-Americans and members of the U.S. military have sent him messages encouraging his public condemnation of the war.
“I’m getting a lot of e-mails, a lot of support, from active-duty military guys here and guys in Afghanistan — some I know, some I don’t — who are saying, ‘Matt, keep doing this. We’re not sure what we’re doing here. It doesn’t make any sense. All we’re doing is fighting people who are fighting us because we’re occupying them.”
In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Hoh kept up the charge. “I firmly believe that we are taking part in a civil war,” he said. “We are on the same side of the civil war that the Soviets intervened on.”
This video is from NBC’s Today Show, broadcast Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.
This video was broadcast by CNN on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, as noted by Think Progress.
This video was published to YouTube by BraveNewFoundation on Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.